If you aren’t familiar with the technique of brining, do not be afraid. It’s extremely easy and adds loads of moisture and flavor to any meat. By placing your meat (in this case its chicken) in a highly salted and seasoned water for many hours, the cells become overly hydrated through osmosis. The brine around the cells has a higher concentration of salt than the water within the cells. Basically, in an arm wrestling contest between brine and regular old water, brine will always win. The brine overpowers and weasels its way into every nook and cranky of the chicken and – tada! – your bird is really, really hydrated. Since the the brine has loosened up the chicken it is now defenseless to the onslaught of delicious sweet + sour marinade.
This roasted chicken dish actually does take 36 hours from start to finish, but the hands on time is less than 20 minutes. We kid you not! Read through the recipe first and consider the best starting time. Our recommendation is to create the brine + start the initial brining on a late Saturday morning, switch to marinating the chicken right before bed that night, and cook the chicken in the late afternoon of Sunday just in time for dinner.
This is your new go-to whole chicken recipe. The end result is a perfectly roasted, juicy, flavor-popping, jaw-dropping, melt-in-your-mouth, savory chicken. Tell your guests you spent 36 hours on this sucker and they’ll adore (and adorn!) you forever.
One 8-10 lb whole chicken
– brine –
2-3 qts water
1 1/2 c salt
1/4 c pink peppercorn
1 garlic head, sliced thru the equator
1 lemon, halved + 1/4 c lemon juice
1 dried gaujillo pepper
thyme, 8-10 stems
cilantro, 2 fist fulls
3 cranks of fresh black pepper
– marinade –
1c brown sugar
1 c vegetable oil
1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c vinegar
6-8 small potatoes
In a large pot, mix together all ingredients of the brine. Over medium-high heat bring the water to a boil. Leave the brine at a rolling boil for about 2 minutes.
Turn off heat, remove pot, and let it cool completely at room temperature. (It’s a lot of water, so it may take a good hour to cool.)
Use a covered dish or pot that is large enough to fit your chicken, but small enough that it’s a tight, cozy fit. The goal is to have the chicken in a container that will allow for total immersion in the brine. Clean your chicken thoroughly by removing any innards, rinsing both the cavity and the outside, and patting dry with a disposable cloth. Place inside your pot.
Pour in the brine until the chicken is entirely covered. Close with the lid and place in the fridge for 10-12 hours. Do not let it sit for more than 12 hours or your chicken may be too salty.
After the brining process, remove chicken from brine mixture and thoroughly rinse and dry. The chicken looks a little – eh…– wrinkly and weird, but trust that it will be delicious! Mix together all ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl. Place chicken back in your cleaned, covered pot. Pour the marinade over the entire chicken until it is completely submerged. Place back in the fridge for between 18-24 hours.
Preheat oven to 375º.
Cut your potatoes in halves or quarters and evenly disperse in a small, oven-safe dish with ample sides.
The potatoes are to elevate the chicken off the pan. Place chicken inside dish. Pour any access marinade over top. Tie the little legs together with baker's twine.
Cook the chicken for 50-60 minutes. Be sure to bast the chicken with the marinade every 20 minutes. You can check if the chicken is done by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the leg. It should read between 160-165º and be able to hold that temperature for 15 seconds.